Apple Crisp for Breakfast, That’s a Thing, Right?

…asking for a friend. 🤔

A few weeks back, the city once again sent out an alert: the apples in the city apple orchard were ready to be picked. So for the love of all that is holy, come and relieve them of these apples. Branches break, people get zonked by falling apples, the ground gets covered, so they seriously encourage people to “come and get it.” They are as organic as they come – other than some pruning, the city does nothing to them.

Photo from City of Longmont

Roger’s Grove Nature Area consists of 54.9 acres adjacent to the St. Vrain Greenway and includes Fairgrounds Lake, trails, a shelter, outdoor amphitheater, restrooms, native landscaping, demonstration gardens and an apple grove with fruit free for your harvest! Design and construction of the nature area was primarily funded by the Roger and Roberta Jones Foundation. Roger Jones (1915-1995), enjoyed walking along the river with his wife Roberta (1913-1992). Both educators in the St. Vrain Valley School system, the Jones’ wanted to contribute an environment for children and adults to visit, learn and enjoy. Roger’s Grove was developed as a nature area, arboretum and outdoor learning center.

…there are about 50 apple trees, of eight varieties, planted at Roger’s Grove, and they have not been sprayed with pesticides.

With all my apples, I made my Perfect Apple Crisp, recipe here, with a bit of twist. I came away with quite a few apples, and while a few are good to eat, most are better for baking. They sat in my fruit drawer for a week, and I decided I needed to do something with them, especially since I didn’t know if any of them were buggy – I didn’t want the bugs to multiply.

So I dumped them all in the sink, washed them and then sliced them up. I put them in my Multi-Pot (Instant Pot twin) and threw in about 1/2 cup of brown sugar, a dash of salt and just enough water to keep it from burning before the apples let go their juice. I set it for three minutes, assuming much of the cooking would take place while it pressurized. It was a good call.

I did the fast-release method, and the apples were perfect. Still had some shape and I thought would be great for baking. I had planned to freeze some, but best-laid plans and all, I instead went on an apple crisp spree. I’ve baked three in the last two weeks. Mmm–mmmm.

Oh, and those chicken thighs – I’ll put that recipe up later. Until then…



 

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Dinner Menu: Cranberry Chicken and Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

A little fall at Golden Ponds this weekend

A little fall at Golden Ponds this weekend

We saw Gravity yesterday in IMAX 3D, which was my first IMAX 3D experience. It was quite the ride. I’m not a fan of 3D (I find it distracting) but i think in this case, it was a must. Also went out to explore the recently reopened trails around the city. There are only a few open and there is lots of damage still, I’ll post photos later.  The rest of the city is getting back to normal and I hope it’s the same for the other towns that were hit even harder than we were.

Fall is in the air and now I want pumpkin and cranberry, so I thought it was time to bring out the roasted cranberry chicken recipe. I love chicken and cranberry together and this recipe creates a tangy cranberry barbecue sauce.  I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, but this version can get me to eat it and it makes a perfect side to the chicken. And to finish it up, a nice treat, ice cream sundaes. If you really want to complete the fall theme, try some pumpkin ice cream, or maybe go with some vanilla served over hot apple crisp.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cranberry Chicken
  2. Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower
  3. Ice Cream Sundaes

Cranberry Chicken 3_Snapseed2

Cranberry Chicken

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*

9×9 glass baking dish, greased and skillet

Heat butter in skillet, sauté onions until golden brown. Arrange breasts in one layer in baking dish. Mix together ketchup, sugar, vinegar, mustard & onions. In a blender, coarsely chop cranberries and add to sauce mixture. Spoon over chicken. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes, until chicken is 180° in center.

*As anyone who reads the blog knows,  I keep cranberries in the freezer, having stocked up during the holidays. If you can’t find whole cranberries, use whole, canned and cut the sugar.

Cheesy-Lemon Cauliflower

  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp curry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon, quartered

saucepan

Add cauliflower, 1 inch of water and ¼ cup lemon juice in saucepan, bring to a boil and cook until cauliflower is just tender. Drain. In saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter, sauté onion until golden, then add flour, stirring until smooth. Add milk, seasonings & cheese, stir until well mixed and smooth. Add cauliflower, stir well. Reduce heat and let simmer on low, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon.   The lemon in this really brightens the flavor.

Shopping List:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 cups whole cranberries*
  • 16 oz cauliflower crowns
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 onion
  • 4 oz milk
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 quart favorite ice cream
  • Sundae toppings

Also: butter, flour, curry, salt, red wine vinegar

Perfect Apple Crisp Revisited

Apple Crisp1

Sorry I went AWOL for longer than I anticipated. I’ll try to get back to a regular schedule next week. I was swamped with work the moment I stepped off the plane. But it was a great vacation, beautiful weather and good friends, so I’m not complaining.

On my last day there, we went apple picking at a great little farm in Stow, MA. The apples were perfect, as was the day and the company. There was a nice variety of apples. For a while I’ve wanted to try an heirloom Delicious and I was not disappointed, it was sweet/tart and crisp, nothing like the modern ones you find in most places. We came back with 20 lbs of apples –  a nice mix of Macintosh, Cortland and Delicious, and a promise that I would make apple crisp before I left.

I was kind of tired after carrying the big bag all over the fields and not paying attention when I started the apple crisp, guess I was on auto-pilot and began making it the traditional way, completely forgetting how good it is when it is cooked in a cast iron skillet, as in the Perfect Apple Crisp recipe (here). Since there was no cast iron in the house and I’d already put apples, butter and sugar in the baking dish, I decided to try something. I put the apple mixture into a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes and then added the crisp topping and continued to bake for another 10-15 minutes until it was golden brown. This method worked as well as the cast iron method and I think is an option if you do not have a cast iron or oven proof skillet.

It was great; the apples were tender, juicy and sweet and the topping perfectly crisped. That took care of about a pound of apples. I wonder what they’re doing with the other nineteen.  😉

Boston AM

ETA: I didn’t take my camera with me, so the photos are from my Samsung Galaxy phone. I think it does a pretty good job.

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Beautiful Fall Day

Click for full size

Windows and doors open. I got a nice ride in. Made a nice apple crisp, adding some leftover apple butter to make it extra special. Yum.

I love the juxtaposition of the Colorado blue sky and the white bark.

Apple Crisp Revisited: Now with Pictures

Couldn’t let JeffW and Mrs. J outdo me, so I got the camera out today when I decided to bake today.  Going on a picnic tomorrow, so I thought it would be a good time to make some more Perfect Apple Crisp to take along.

I made it in the skillet, but then transported it to a glass baking dish because I think it browns better in it and I have a cover for it and it will be easier to pack.

Oh, and where are we going on this picnic?   The Wild Animal Sanctuary.  Where there are lions and tigers and bears….oh yeah and a beautiful black panther that had his very own television show on Animal Planet.  I’ll try and get pictures.

Thursday Night Menu: Farmers’ Market Edition

Caprese1

These are so simple, even if you’ve never cooked before, you’ll be successful.  I still don’t now have a name for this pasta dish (thanks everyone) and I find it difficult to believe that 6 ingredients could be so flavorful. On the board tonight:

  1. Pasta Caprese
  2. Loaf of Bread
  3. Apple & Blackberry Crisp

 Pasta Caprese

  • 9 oz linguine or fettuccine
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 oz cubed mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan and large serving dish

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  While it’s cooking, mix remaining ingredients together.  Drain pasta completely (dab with paper towels, if necessary) then add to tomato mixture.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors blend.  Serve warm or you can refrigerate and serve cold.  Add a nice loaf of bread for a complete dinner.

I use a fairly expensive mozzarella for this dish because it’s softer, tastier and absorbs more flavors.  Any locally produced mozzarella would work.  Also, my local farmers’ market has a pasta vendor, who hand makes many flavors of pasta.  This dish works very well with flavored pastas – fire roasted chili, lemon pepper, tomato basil, red bell pepper – the list goes on.  You can also change up the cheese to a Queso Blanco (again, use a fairly expensive or locally produced one), use cilantro instead of basil and use a chili flavored pasta for a whole new dish.  The possibilities are endless.

The credit for this dish goes to friends.  Every time they made it for me I’d ask, “What’s in this again?”  Couldn’t believe it was so simple.  After a trip to the farmers’ market, we started trying different flavors.  Now on to dessert….

Apple & Blackberry Crisp:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

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  • 3 apples, cored & sliced (peeling opt)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

8×8 baking dish and mixing bowl

In bowl, cut together sugar, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, cinnamon & butter until crumbly.  In baking dish, toss apple slices & blackberries with sugar & lemon juice.  Crumble butter mixture over the top evenly.  Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden and bubbly and apples are soft. Let cool 10 minutes before serving to let fruit set.

If you want to change it up, use different fruits or fruit combinations you might like  – peaches, pears, blueberries, strawberries, and even rhubarb (you’ll have to add about a ½ cup of sugar to the fruit and cook 40 minutes).

Enjoy.

Shopping List:

  • 9 oz linguine or fettuccini
  • 4 oz mozzarella
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • Nice loaf of bread
  • 3 apples
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)

Also: olive oil, crushed garlic, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, lemon juice